Isanti County briefed on mental health services

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For more information on mental health awareness, check out the special display board in the main lobby of the Isanti County Government Center. Photo by Jon Tatting

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Isanti County Board learned all about it, along with chemical dependency trends, during a Family Services presentation at the May 15 board meeting.

Karyn Hansen, who serves as mental health and chemical dependency supervisor for the county’s Family Services department, talked about mental health case management. Placements in residential treatment or foster care settings for children are a large part of the unit budget, she noted, as the department attempts to keep children in the family home and reduce the length of time in placement.

Adult mental health case managers also are involved in civil commitments when someone with a mental illness is determined to be a danger to themselves or others and commitment is the least restrictive alternative, Hansen explained.

In 2012, Family Services was notified of 32 people on holds and five going through the Rule 20 process for criminal charges. A team from the department recommended commitment for 25 of those individuals. So far this year, she added, there have been 10 holds, three Rule 20s and six people recommended for commitment by the team.

“2013 has been an active year,” she said.

Hansen said case management will be provided to anyone that requests, consents or is ordered by the court and is eligible for services. While adults must meet eligibility criteria for serious and persistent mental illness, children and youth must meet eligibility criteria for severe emotional disturbance.

Isanti County Family Services has four full-time staff for both adult mental health and child mental health. At present, the average case loads are 32 and 20, respectively, just above the recommended case load benchmarks of 30 and 15.

Also in 2012, of the 257 requests for services, 167 involved adult mental health and 90 for children’s mental health. Further, where 183 individuals received adult mental health services, 87 received children’s mental health services.

Chemical dependency

Hansen said each county provides chemical use assessments and funding — county, 15 percent of the cost; state, 85 percent — for treatment for eligible residents.

To qualify, a person must meet income standards, have medical assistance or no insurance. Isanti County Family Services has one full-time assessor and two others who conduct a few assessments in addition to their other duties.

Hansen talked more about the assessment process and the strict timelines for services once a request is received. Referrals are accepted for outpatient, residential or hospital-based treatment, and aftercare is often part of the plan, as well.

To date, there have been 89 assessments scheduled, though not all are actually conducted. In 2012, there were 313 people served through chemical dependency either by assessment or services, with a total of 239 assessments scheduled.

For more information on these services, check out the special display board in the main lobby of the Isanti County Government Center.

In other action, the board:

• Agreed to purchase network computer equipment to remedy the county’s property tax servers that overheated on property tax deadline day. The system was expected to be up and running later that day.

• Approved the 2013-15 labor agreement between Isanti County and MN Teamsters Local 320-Family Services.

• Awarded low bidder Sauk Rapids-based Knife River Corp. the paving contract involving stretches of various roads across the county. While the company’s bid totaled about $2.9 million, it still was around 15 percent under the engineer’s estimate of about $3.4 million. The project begins June 17, and they will have 40 working days to complete it, county highway engineer Richard Heilman said.

• Authorized responsibility to the East Central Solid Waste Commission for updating and resubmitting Solid Waste Management Plans in its behalf. State statutes authorize counties to provide for management of solid waste and requires counties to develop SWMP, which reviews the past and present solid waste management systems of the region. It also is written to provide guidance for the future.

• Approved the final plat for Jabs Country Acres.

• Designated 20 percent of the tax forfeited sale collections to be used for the acquisition and maintenance of county parks or recreation areas.

• Approved a request by Lori Kollar of Stanchfield for a conditional use permit for a crafting-based retreat center in Maple Ridge Township. The center, on more than 20 acres, will be associated with quilting, scrapbooking, stamping, card making, beading, embroidering, crocheting, painting and/or yoga and wellness. Temporary lodging is not to exceed two weeks. Kollar intends to have some outdoor activities with the retreat center, and she is requesting to have 20 overnight guests.